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Facts About Iraq: Five Arguments For The Anti-War Movement
I f there’s anything opponents of the Iraq War can be sanguine about, it’s that a huge chunk of the electorate voted for Bush without knowing the facts.
According to an October 2004 study from the University of Maryland:
- 47 percent of Bush supporters believed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction
- 20 percent believed that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11
- 55 percent believed that Iraq gave al-Qaeda “substantial support”
- 68 percent of Bush supporters believed that world opinion either favored or was evenly divided on the Iraq War
More good news: the study found that a majority of Bush supporters would have been against the war had they known the facts. So the goal of the opposition ought to be to confront the Administration’s onslaught of baseless assertions. Here are five points we should focus on:
This is not a humanitarian mission. Rather, the war has become a veritable bloodbath. The website iraqbody count.org has counted at least 15,000 documented civilian deaths. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 28 percent of the Marines and 14 percent of the Army soldiers it interviewed said that they had killed noncombatants. The war might even be far worse than these studies show. A Johns Hopkins University study estimated 100,000 Iraqi deaths as a result of the war.These studies exclude mass arrests and widespread destruction of homes and property. This is what Bush dubbed “freedom on the march” and Dick Cheney called “a success story.”
There was no transfer of sovereignty. The press lifted this term wholesale from the Administration. Iyad Allawi, the current supposed leader of “sovereign” Iraq, reputedly a Baathist hit man, was a CIA asset for years. The highlight of his career was a botched coup attempt that led to over 100 executions. His government has no authority over the 160,000 strong occupation force (not even to try them for crimes committed in the sovereign Iraq). It had no authority to reverse the draconian economic “reforms” of the Coalition Provisional Authority or to reallocate the reconstruction contracts signed by the CPA, which heavily favor U.S. corporations in spite of immense Iraqi unemployment.
Yes, the Iraqi ministers can and occasionally do demur, but it has become patently obvious who the Administration envisions running the new Iraq. It has already diverted reconstruction funds to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world out of one of Saddam Hussein’s gargantuan palaces. The U.S. delegation to Iraq—headed by Iran-Contra notable John Negro- ponte—includes regional hubs throughout Iraq and retains significant authority over Iraq’s main ministries. Even if by some miracle the elections are a “success,” the newly elected leader will head an “interim” government dependent on the U.S. and lacking any prospects for long-term legitimacy.
The only thing that is on the march is economic liberalization. Everything the Administration’s hard right ideologues would like in the U.S., they’re getting in Iraq. This includes: dropped tariffs; the potential for foreign ownership of nearly all of Iraq’s state owned industries, with no legal barriers to capital flight or requirements to reinvest profits in Iraq; and a flat tax.
The situation is deteriorating. The human rights catastrophe described above ought to call into question the Administration’s apocryphal description of this “success story.” The reality of the situation is far different than the potemkin village we see on television. A study conducted in September by a private security company in Iraq found that insurgent attacks were far more pervasive than has been reported. Large swaths of territory remain under the control of insurgents or no government at all. At the time of this writing, Allawi has declared a national emergency, imposing curfews around the Sunni areas. After chaos rocked the once tranquil northern areas in and around Mosul, Kurdish authorities took matters into their own hands, calling in their own militias.
We are not fighting the terrorists where they are. We’re ushering in an unprecedented wave of anti-Americanism and the facts and figures show it. The most comprehensive study so far—taken earlier this year by the Pew Global Attitudes Project—showed a precipitous rise in anti-American attitudes in the Arab world. Another study by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institute attributed this to U.S. foreign policy. A November report by the Pentagon’s own advisory board said that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedoms,’ but rather they hate our policies.”
Resistance groups and militias have proliferated in Iraq since the invasion. It’s impossible to keep such groups contained, making the rest of the world more vulnerable. As for international groups, such as al-Qaeda, the evidence suggests that Iraq has been a galvanizing force. A recent study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies warned of a proliferation of al-Qaeda members since the war began. In April, the New York Times reported Islamic militants all over Europe openly using the war to galvanize religious extremists against the U.S. The result is obvious: terrorist violence skyrocketed in 2003.
Josh Leon is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Because People Matter, News and Review, and Uwire.com. He plans community speaking events on national issues.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.